New Delhi: Santosh Desai, chief executive and managing director of Future Brands Ltd, believes that millennial consumers have high expectations from brands and expect them to provide new experiences. Edited excerpts from an interview:

Who are the millennials?

To my mind, a person who has grown up in the times, wherein digital is the norm and he or she is used to the internet, qualifies to be a millennial.

What are the characteristics of a typical millennial consumer?

The millennial, especially in the metros and top cities, is a consumer who has not grown up in times of scarcity, compared to earlier generations. The world of choices seems natural to her. The millennial consumer expects brands to do their homework and, in fact, second guess what they like. There is both easy interest and boredom among these consumers because they have grown up in a world where everything is rapidly changing. They expect novelty and freshness from brands. There is a greater service expectation from brands as well.

Is this consumer loyal to brands?

Earlier, people were either habituated towards a brand or they were afraid of choosing the wrong brand. Therefore, loyalty meant a habit or fear for earlier generations. The conventional definition of loyalty does not apply to millennials. They can become passionate champions of a brand they believe in. For instance, in the technology sector, the consumer base is divided between the Android and iOS (operating systems).

What kind of products are millennials buying?

I believe the categories of consumption change, but not dramatically. What changes are consumer expectations and interaction with the brand. Millennials are also looking for entertainment in everything. It certainly has a high premium.

Do these consumers believe in buying from more responsible companies?

I would be careful about overstating this. While there is an interest in brands being responsible, the millennial consumer has a high bullshit detector. They are also sceptical—so, if a brand claims that it is responsible, it does not get automatically accepted.

From where does he or she access information on products?

To access brand information, social media and digital is the go-to platform for millennials because it is more personalized and interactive than a mass medium like television.

Are marketers making special efforts to reach out to them?

The increasing advertising spends on digital is a reflection of the investment marketers are making to reach out to millennials.

Almost every brand has a social strategy today and they are creating exclusive advertising strategy for digital. Having said that there are still a large number of brands who have not fully leveraged the codes that the digital world follows, but they certainly have come a long way.

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